Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New York Times Style/Weddings Features Romantic Travel Belize Dec 23, 2012

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New York Times
It’s the End of the World and I Feel Fine
Published: December 21, 2012
SOME choose to marry on a numerically auspicious date (12/12/2012; 11/11/2011 to name two). Others are more focused on the proximity of the sun — as in “will I be warm, but not too warm in my expensive wedding gown?” Still others find that to wed on doomsday is a perfectly romantic notion.

Doomsday? There were numerous articles about the 5,125-year-old Mayan calendar, the last day of which was Friday, Dec. 21. To some, this date also meant the end of time. Period.

People the world over were stocking up on supplies in preparation for a potential apocalypse, and in the case of a man in China, a version of Noah’s Ark was being built.

Lona Cook, a chiropractor, and Kyle Klocke, an electrician, both from Minneapolis, instead chose to play out their own happily-ever-after scenario that day with a wedding attended by 12 guests at Cahal Pech, a Mayan ruin near San Ignacio, Belize.

Ms. Cook and Mr. Klocke are neither thumbing their noses at the end-of-the-world gang, nor embracing them. In fact, they didn’t specifically set out to get married on Dec. 21, but the couple, who wanted a short engagement and a destination wedding, came across on the Web, Romantic Travel Belize, a planning service specializing in weddings. Ms. Cook, who has long been fascinated with Mayan culture, loved that the planning service organizes ceremonies at ruins of ancient Mayan temples. The significance of the date was an added bonus.

It makes for an excellent movie plot — two lovers binding themselves together for all eternity as a meteor hurls toward the earth. Viva Las Vegas Weddings, a wedding chapel in Nevada, was offering “Armageddon wedding packages” on Friday geared to those couples who wanted to poke fun at the doomsday myth while simultaneously tying the knot. Brian Mills, the chapel’s general manager, said they had at least 25 weddings booked, four of them also adding zombie themes.

He said the reasons people choose to wed on dates with alternating sets of numbers like 12/21 or repetitive ones like 7/7/2007 vary, but for many people, it boils down to something quite banal: “It’s easy to remember,” he said.

For those who were convinced there was no tomorrow, choosing a recognizable anniversary date might have seemed a futile effort. Lara Goldman, owner of Romantic Travel Belize, contends that doomsday is a primarily Western construct reinforced by Hollywood and Internet conspiracy theorists. Those who married this weekend, she said, saw Dec. 21 as a beginning not as an end, just as she thinks the ancient Mayans would.

Another couple who were drawn to this “end of days” event at Cahal Pech (which is said to translate unromantically as the “Place of the Ticks”) were Megan Sauer, a fashion designer, and Kevin Humphreys, who works in computational linguistics. The couple, from Redmond, Wash., described themselves as “spiritual, though not religious.”

“We love the symbolism of Dec. 21 being a new beginning of the Mayan calendar, connected to the solstice and celestial alignments, and thought it would be a perfect day to mark our new life together,” Mr. Humphreys wrote in an e-mail.

For Ms. Sauer’s part, she admitted in an e-mail before the couple’s wedding to a tiny bit of just-in-case doomsday superstition.

“I can’t help but be drawn to the date, partially due to the hype around the end of the world (I am a ‘Coast To Coast AM Radio’ fan after all),” Ms. Sauer said in an e-mail. “And of course I wouldn’t want to share the end of the world with anyone else.”

A version of this article appeared in print on December 23, 2012, on page ST15 of the New York edition with the headline: It’s the End of the World And I Feel Fine.

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